Captain's Table

Mark Austen

2019.05.21 - Paper Folding

I am about to embark on the construction of an A4 sized wrap journal and for this I have purchased two reams of A3 paper at an extraordinarily good (cheap) price. One ream is 100 gsm and is made from recycled paper and the other is 120 gsm and is a 'normal' copier paper. I have to take about 50 of these, 25 of each, fold each one in half and use these to create the signatures for the journal.

However, folding A3 paper in half is not without its tribulations. Specifically, the paper is really too large to be done by hand without wrinkling the fold, unless you have really large hands, which I do not. Being an engineer, I decided to make a paper folding aid. I hesitate to call is a machine since it is so simple.

Firstly I cut two A4 sized pieces of wood.

These were taped together on one side only to form a hinge.

Corners were added to locate the sheet being folded...

...and the tip of the corner cut off so that you can see the paper sheet below.

Like this.

A sheet of A3 paper is inserted into the left-hand corners and a thin straight edge placed over the very edge of the left-hand piece of wood.

The right-hand piece of wood is then lifted from the right and this creases the paper as can be seen here. The straight edge is removed, the sheet folded completely over to the left and the fold is smoothed with a suitable implement. I used a piece of plastic tubing in lieu of a proper bone folder.

The result is a folded sheet with a nice sharp fold.

Here is a signature of 10 sheets alternating the 120 gsm and the 100 gsm.

Was it better than folding entirely by hand?

Yes, it was. It might not have been faster but it certainly gave a much neater, smooth and repeatable fold. I'm going to class this one as a success and use it in future. I used it to fold another four signatures and I'm pleased at the way they came out.